This heart set into
the street cobbles on Parliament Square marks the site of the entrance to the Old
Tollbooth Prison which was built in 1561 originally as a Custom
House for merchants.
It then became the Townhall where the Privy Council, College of Justice and the
Scottish Parliament met, but by the mid 17th century it had become a prison and
the place of execution.
On the northwall of Parliament Square were where the heads of the recently deceased
criminals used to be displayed, but this building was demolished in 1817.
The heart is a memorial to the many hearts which must have been pounding away
on this very spot before being executed.